Understanding MPs’ Self-Imposed Cutbacks
6 Reforming Parliamentary Pensions. Evidence from Austria: MPs Becoming Equal
Members of the National Council in Austria were covered by a parliamentary pension scheme until 1997. A structural reform ended the scheme and all newly elected MPs now remain in the public pension fund (Pensionskasse) to which they belonged before their legislative service. Parliamentary pension regulations thus correspond to those of other ordinary employees. As a result, MPs are now either covered under the old (special) legal basis due to transition rules or they are included in the national statutory pension scheme.111
The following section outlines the main characteristics of the Austrian welfare state and the public pension scheme, as well as the overall parliamentary income package in order to shed light on the topic under investigation and to locate the issue of MPs’ pension within the overall field of research.
6.1.1 Old-Age Pensions and the Austrian Welfare State
Like Germany, Austria is a typical Bismarckian welfare state. One distinctive feature of Bismarckian welfare states is the dominance of the social insurance principle. The link between social security benefits and regular employment, the dominance of the equivalence principle, and the goal of maintaining one’s standard of living during retirement all characterize Bismarckian welfare states (Tálos 2002). According to an international comparison of social spending expenditure data, Austria is one of the more generous welfare states. The net total public social expenditure rate was 28.1 percent of GDP in 2012. This is higher than the OECD-average, which is...
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